METAL GEAR SAM : PHANTOM CALLER

Sam Mackeddie sure loves his Metal Gear. He also loves making films weird as possible to the point they are incomprehensible and don’t make any sense. His ideas can be so impenetrable that I felt like I had to sit down while reading the script. The original thing he had was basically me getting carried around a hospital on a stretcher, before being held down and given eyedrops, and then finding all my friends tied up by nooses in the attic. Thankfully I was able to convince him to let me do a sexy dance instead. This is because of his fondness for ‘Room 836’, a black and white film we made about a year ago. Rewatching it, there’s some pretty good moments, but I feel that I prefer to make comedic stuff rather than an actual gritty horror. Not that there’s anything wrong with making films where i die all the time.

The origin of this is definitely from the Prankdial application’s ‘Stop using my Wifi’ call. The first time someone tried to do it to me, I thought it was a friend of mine because of the weirdly bland scottish accent on the line. Sam called me up a half hour later, accusing me of pranking him “I fucking know it was you Carson” whereas I don’t know who did it to either of us. It’s a lot less damaging I suppose than the time they called 3 taxis and 4 fish suppers to my house. I’m still barred from riding with Capital Cars.

The Metal Gear Solid element of this one really doesn’t make much sense other than we wanted to make the opening like ‘Venom’ Snake sitting in the MGSV helicopter. I added the stinger with the call after realising that it’s the other iconic thing in MGS I really like, those phone calls after the credits where they drop bridges of information on you. Oh Kojima, you crazy bastard. Hope to make more post-credit scenes like that. I feel I got the timing just right with all their weird pauses between lines.

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THE DISSOLUTION OF NANS ACT 2018

Have you heard? By early 2018 the United Kingdom will try and bump up it’s dystopia levels by discontinuing nans. Don’t worry though, if you have a nan, you can get them to register under the G.R.A.N protocol. It’s not what everyone wanted, but the Gran Lobby is getting very tough to control these days. Who thought 3 old ladies could hold 60% of the country’s power by running specific W.R.I halls in the Westminster area? It’s madness, I tell you. Let’s hope the Masons don’t clock on to this and get the ‘Big Papa’ involved.

The idea for this came from a mug that Nadia bought from the Sainsburys across the way. It was only 50p she said, not knowing what a nan was. But it is a nice little cup to have some tea in, just like grandma makes.

EDINBURGH FRINGE – GRAHAM DICKSON IS THE NARCISSIST

Graham Dickson is a talented performer, who has an abundance of charisma. He seems to be an actor capable of great range as well, as evidenced by some of the scenes in ‘The Narcissist.’ But this show was advertised as a comedy, and I did not laugh once.
It is obviously a labour of love, taking influence from pretentious and buffoonish thespians and works of Russian literature, but nothing ever really landed for me. It is a show that tries to do many things, but arguably never really accomplishes any of them. Part of the show takes the form of a farce, as Graham and his director Hamish argue about different approaches the show should take. It then starts to delve into character comedy, Graham playing a Russian man who self-absorbedly looks back throughout his life to give us a taste of his formative years. The lead character, Grigoriy Alexeivich Dhukov takes us on a journey through his life, detailing the life of shit that he’s led up to this point, the experiences that led up to him writing his magnum opus.
With the exception of two cringe inducing American characters that play on tired archetypes, the play mostly follows this Russian protagonist and Graham himself as he breaks character to bicker with the director. The main problem is that while a lot of the writing has the cadence of a joke that invites you to laugh, it’s not actually funny enough to force one out. The story is okay, it might even be pretty interesting if it wasn’t littered with jokes that make you want to crawl out of your skin and out the exit. The show jumps around pretty frantically and Graham does a good job with some of the physical comedy, but neither the characters nor the humor in ‘The Narcissist’ make any impact. It’s not mean or cruel enough to be truly narcissistic, instead it is a lame, ill-conceived concept. It presents itself as a vehicle for character comedy, but nothing about the characters or the writing is particularly amusing.

Last year I worked for a publication that did not publish negative reviews, so I haven’t written one in a while. It does pain me a little to write this, because while the guy although hasn’t written something I could connect with, the audience I was in there with did enjoy it. But still, there were times where the laughs felt forced from the people sitting next to me. I was impressed with Dickson’s acting ability, and he does have the potential to be a great comedic actor. The writing though, needs to be funnier all round. I was almost going to give it a second chance halfway through if they didn’t do a joke about everyone’s least favourite president, but near the climax they blew it with a joke that had no place in a show dealing with a 1930’s playwright. It might have been an out of character moment for Dickson, but it was still a cheap joke in final few minutes. I do wish Dickson all the best though – it’s hard to be objective when something really doesn’t connect with you on such a wide ranging art form such as comedy. I despise most improv troupes that I’ve ever seen on the festival because of each members need to outperform each other. I understand Dickson comes from an improv background and this does feel like a play that was scripted by a good improviser. Perhaps my fault with the show of is just the incompatibility with the styles of comedy we draw influence from.

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Graham Dickson is The Narcissist is on at Underbelly, Cowgate (Venue 61) ​
20:10, Aug 17-27

Fuck you, Theresa May

I think it might be pretty clear from this video that i don’t like Theresa May. I don’t, nor do i like any of the English Tories, but this was only meant to be a joke. I had this footage of the leaders of the political parties on a table football game, and started to think “oh i could do a short funny thing with these and then the punchline would be theresa may fucked up in calling this election” but as i started to write the song it started to get less silly and more angsty. I did a couple rewrites of the lyrics while sitting on the toilet, and that’s where i do my angriest writing. It turned out kind of funny to me, because she seems like such a laughable, fragile figure who also is a dangerous reactionary. The problem with conservatives is that their views on what the right thing to do for society or the country rarely hold up under the pressure of real life situations. I thought the dumbest thing she said in her campaign was about the terror attacks “Enough is enough.” I had this image of all these radicalised terrorists putting their guns and knives away and shrugging because this woman told them to. The reasons for terror attacks are not always clear, but to then blame something huge and free as the internet for the rise in attacks is ridiculous. The current government doesn’t understand the internet, it scares them. But if you were to schedule it like a drug, you’re only going to put everyone at further risk.

I can’t talk about them for too much because i just get angry. I was happy to see Corbyn finally given the praise he has always deserved and overcome the stabs in the back that the Blairites gave him. It’s why labour has made a comeback in Scotland, they don’t support Scottish labour, because they all seem like a bunch of entitled cunts that can’t be told ‘no’, it’s people like Corbyn they like, somebody who isn’t a stuffy little prick looking down at their constituents.

(Isn’t it weird though how specifically scottish labour are more unlikable than the regular brand? Why did it evolve like that? Just before the election nadia met a bunch of them using a conference room at work and they were treating people like they were on the caste system)

Tim Farron, who cares really. He brought Lib Dem back from the brink, and Clegg got ejected. They fucked up though. They really fucked it with that coalition.

Nicola Sturgeon, we love you. I mean, you’re the best. Whenever somebody criticizes the SNP, they are just mad jealous. I think.

The weird one in the bunch is Ruth Davidson, leader of Scottish Conservative. She always seemed like a walking paradox to me, proud LGBT, remain supporter, – is constantly getting these things dangled in front of her like keys. She doesn’t seem bad, but i still don’t get what to be a scottish conservative is about. It means you like the UK, sure. You don’t like independence, okay. But that was their entire platform this election – just “FUCK THE SNP”. I like the SNP, a lot. Sure they’re maybe a little slow on some things, but you can’t blame them, they’re Scottish. They’re just a bunch of dirty urchin children who grew into those suits.

Ruth Davidson doesn’t really have anything that annoys me, but i feel bad for her. It’s like she seems a little powerless through all this and you don’t really ever get to see what she cares about, why she got into it all. She’s the one tory that i still got sympathy for. but at the same time, i don’t understand how anyone can like the Tories without being an insufferable cunt. I’ve still to meet somebody that was conservative that wasn’t deeply unpleasant to be around.

YOUNG FILMMAKERS GLASGOW CALLING FOR ENTRIES IN BREXIT FILM PROJECT ‘NO FRAME IS AN ISLAND’

A group of filmmakers have put an open call out to young people across Scotland to get creative and make short films as a way to make their voices heard on Brexit.

Young Filmmakers Glasgow have launched ‘No Frame Is An Island’, a project that consists of 30 second short films submitted by anyone aged 13 to 30. The submitted films are required to have no cuts or editing, consisting of a response to Brexit and a chance for your voice to be heard.

Sean Mcinally, the founder of Young Filmmakers Glasgow feels that doing something creative is the perfect outlet to figure out your identity and help voice a person’s opinions clearly. “It really helps to create. I think when you go to create, or when you have to refine your identity into something like a 30 second short film, it’s forced out of you so it helps a lot.

Last year the collective debuted the First Act Film Festival at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, showcasing some of the best films made by young Scottish people.

“It was our first year, it was great. We went in with it with pretty high ambitions, we wanted to bring in a big guest and we ended up securing Iain Smith who produced Mad Max : Fury Road, and that film had just won 7 Oscars or something. He did a speech that was so inspirational, he had a lot of wisdom about the Scottish film industry.”

No Frame is an Island – Scottish Filmmakers are Reacting to Brexit from Young Filmmakers Glasgow on Vimeo.

This new project is similar to a film festival in that takes these homemade shorts to the big screen, adding a touch of cinematic flair.

“I can’t stress enough how important I think it is to do what we’re trying to do, there’s no better way to get young filmmakers making films than to promise them an audience of people that are gonna watch it, not just online. It’s a cinematic experience, it’s real people in a dark room, which I think is gold for a new filmmaker, especially today.”

This is new ground for the Young Filmmakers Glasgow, who haven’t curated their work with a political agenda in mind so far. “I think people are excited about it because I don’t think filmmakers have had a collective response or movement against Brexit yet, so we’re one of the first groups of filmmakers to tackle it as a whole.”

There is an assumption that most submissions will be from the remain camp, but they hope for the sake of the argument that they will be quite balanced. “Our group has always been very international, so we’ve got a strong European identity. The point is you don’t have to be Scottish, just based in Scotland, because Brexit affects everyone. I don’t think we’re gonna find out what we have until we bring the films together and get around to screening them but it’ll be exciting.”

Part of the group’s manifesto is anti-film school, disregarding the notion that you need to be a film graduate to make a film. ‘No Frame Is An Island’ is refreshing in it’s optimism that anybody can create a film, whether it’s been shot on a high priced film camera or somebody’s mobile phone. The group are hugely ambitious, one of their goals being the creation of Scotland’s first film studio. If they keep coming up with innovative ways to get people into film-making, they might just be the catalyst that Scottish film needs to become truly groundbreaking.

The closing date for submissions is January 31st 2017 and the screening will be held next month at the Gilmore Hill Centre, 9 University Ave, Glasgow on February 26th.

You can get involved with ‘No Frame Is an Island’ at the website youngfilmmakers.scot and check for updates on Facebook and Twitter.

THE MECHANIC

Here’s a new short about men going into the woods. A little creepy this one. It was shot when we went back home for a few days for Xmas.